At its recent council meeting, the Lester B. Pearson School Board approved a motion asking Quebec to reimburse costs of delayed elections. The amount is about $135,000.

Noel Burke, chairperson of the Pearson board and vice president of the Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA) reportedly said:

"We don't think we should be stuck footing the bill," because of "poor decisions" by the province to hold elections during the pandemic, costing the board much more in extra expenses.

To be clear, it was the QESBA who twice demanded the elections be postponed and the government accommodated.

The idea of postponing school elections is nothing new to the QESBA. Let's recall the noise they made in May 2018 claiming it was not ready for elections later that year.

The association's reason was so flimsy, the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) and its Parents' Committee, to their credit, passed resolutions stating the delay of two years was undemocratic and unethical and hoped other English boards would join them.

Besides the extra money without facing the electorate, this meant the terms of commissioners would end up being two back-to-back, seven-year terms whose original mandates, according to the law, are four years.

Let's also consider the results of the 2014 elections: a turnout of about 17 percent with about 49 percent of the seats acclaimed. Today our system is being run by commissioners where 86.3 percent of the positions were recently acclaimed.

Election costs have been an issue "since 1998." That is not the problem with our English public school system.

Democracy - or the lack of it - is the real problem and that is a disservice to the anglophone community.

Chris Eustace

Pierrefonds, QC

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